The London Palestine Film Festival opens on 18 April and runs for two weeks at the Barbican Cinema (18-24 April) and SOAS, Russell Square (25 April 25th - 1 May), with another extraordinary selection of documentary, fiction, art, and experimental work by artists from around the world. Still the largest of its kind, this year the Festival program includes more than 50 works related to the question of Palestine by artists from across the globe working in every genre of film and video production.
As the Festival falls on the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948, several special sessions have been programmed to address questions of oral history and memory in cinema, as well as of refugee rights and the ongoing struggles of Israel’s Palestinian population. These include the opening session, featuring a short (45 minute) screening of oral history documentation projects from Israel and Lebanon, followed by a panel discussion on methods, challenges, and goals of oral history video work on the Palestinian Nakba.
Also reflecting this anniversary, Homeland Lost, a photographic exhibition by Alan Gignoux, will open on Wednesday 16 April in the Barbican Cinema 1 Foyer. Juxtaposing portraits of Palestinian exiles with present day images of the places they left in 1948 as a result of the war that led to the creation of Israel, Gignoux’s work provides an antidote to western media saturated with images of exiled Palestinians as either extremists or victims, portraying instead individuals trying to build a life for themselves in complex circumstances.
In all, more than 20 filmmakers, writers, academics and activists will be in attendance for a series of question and answer sessions and panel discussions on issues ranging from Water and the Conflict, via Lebanon in the Summer of 2006, through to Minorities and Britain’s Judicial System in the Wake of 7 July 2005.
Keynote speakers will include festival patron and award-winning novelist Ahdaf Soueif, leading UK-rights lawyer Garreth Pierce, and scholars Ilan Pappe, Karma Nabulsi, Sabry Hafez, Tony Allen, and Mark Zeitoun. Filmmakers will be in attendance throughout the festival and rarely-screened classic works such as Chris Marker’s seminal A Grin Without a Cat: Scenes From the Third World War, 1967-1977 will complement a program built around world and UK premiers of striking new documentary and experimental work from a growing number of Palestinian and international artists.